By Naomi Osborn (Ms. Adventure)
Murtle Lake is North America’s largest kayak-and-canoe-only lake. I like that. It’s quieter. It’s safer. It’s cleaner. It’s a little brag-worthy. 🙂
It’s more than that.
Canoeing is to me like slipping into a sanctuary; in pushing off from the shore I can almost feel all the cares and worries wash off my face and drop into perspective below in the deep water.
Life is simplified. Meditation feels easy. Hard work is good. Food tastes better.
We were a bit nervous at first about this trip, though.
After all, the ratio was 2 adults, 3 teenagers, and 4 kids.
There were three canoes, three tents, three nights, three hot dinners to make, three duffle bags jammed full of food and kitchen items alone, and three teenagers with trusting parents waiting for them at home.
Just one portage and then it’s plain
We had paddled just 1.6 KM the first day when we pulled off to the first group site; a storm had billowed up and the lake was choppy. None of us had slept more than 3 hours the previous night, so we just cuddled up and pretended we were Voyageurs under our canoes for the afternoon.
The next day was still peeping around clouds and sighing wind over the waves, but we went 20.5 KM that day.
Fresh fried fish and sushi for dinner! And then, for those bold enough to venture not just from city’s shelter, but from the cozy warmth of a well-earned sleeping bag (not me), an endlessly starry sky to feast upon (apparently).
Saturday bloomed beautifully over the glassy mirror of the lake. At the north end of the lake, Murtle Beach, an earnest committee of hungry mosquitoes welcomed us as we celebrated our trip’s halfway point.
While the mozzies snacked on us, we snacked on handfuls of these little wilderness candies:
After paddling 23 KM, we made it back to the south end of the lake. Pizza night!
See that photo below? This is real beauty.
Sunday was a leisurely 8 KM back to the launching site, the three food bags emptied, three garbage bags filled, and all the kids accounted for.
While not as carefree as it would have been had we traipsed the lake alone, every ache in my arms felt good, even after all the laundry was done.
Thank you to my kids, especially the oldest, who can now paddle with Daddy in her own canoe. Well done!
Thank you to my other three for enjoying the ride and eating an impressive amount of candy and berries.
Thank you to G, M, and N for joining our family and willingly pulling their own weight at the paddle, portage, tent pitching, and pots and pans!
M – thank you for a perfectly spiced, perfectly crisped trout treat!
G – that portage out was really something. Thank you.
N – Thanks for all the quiet quips! (And for not losing your toe.)
Thank you, too, to the Murtle Lake Park Operators! The campsites are beautifully appointed and idyllically rustic, and the speedboat regularly coming by was a peace of mind for this mama!
Thank you for oohing and aahing over our daughter’s catch!
Our route and camping sites.